LLE: Microbial Electrosynthesis for a Carbon-Neutral Energy and Chemicals Economy

March 27, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Wallberg WB116
200 College St
Toronto, ON M5T 3A1

Stanford University

Microbial Electrosynthesis for a Carbon-Neutral Energy and Chemicals Economy

Microbial electrosynthesis is a recently discovered and investigated process, where certain microbes take up electrons from a cathode and use those as catabolic electrons for CO2 reduction reaction. Depending on the choice of microorganism, either methane (electromethanogenesis),  or  C4-6 organic compounds can be produced at high selectivity and rate. This process provides an important novel use of biology for either converting electricity into carbon-neutral natural gas, or for producing carbon-neutral chemicals from CO2 and electricity. The potentials and research needs for further developing of this new technology will be discussed.


Alfred Spormann is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Biology at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from the Philipps-University, Marburg, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Departments of Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and at Stanford University.
Alfred’s research investigates molecular microbial metabolism and its linkage to ecological and evolutionary processes, exploring the distinguishing features of novel microbial metabolism and how molecular and biochemical differences in metabolism shape microbial fitness. His primary research interests include the study of novel microbial metabolism with relevance to bioremediation, bioenergy, and intestinal microbiology.

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